English As A Second Language (ESL)

  • The MISSION of Elizabethtown Area School District's ESL program is as follows:

    • Support a high quality education for English language learners which includes the provision of culturally responsive and equitable educational programs.
    • Ensure that English language learners meet rigorous core curriculum standards and achieve high levels of academic success.

     

    The VISION of Elizabethtown Area School District's ESL program is as follows:

    • Recognize English language learners and their families as cultural and linguistic assets to our educational community.


    Department Staff
    Nancy Grundhoffer - Elementary School (Grades K-3)
    nancy_grundhoffer@etownschools.org or 361-0099
     
    Paula Hake - Bear Creek School and Middle School (Grades 4-8)
    paula_hake@etownschools.org or 367-0210
     
    Christina Oscsodal - Middle School and High School (Grades 7-12)
    christina_oscsodal@etownschools.org or 367-1533 / 361-7525

     


    Educational Theory and Approach
    The K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program of the Elizabethtown Area School District provides students with a planned program to facilitate the acquisition of English language skills and provide an instructional program appropriate to the student's developmental and instructional level. Students eligible for the program a) have acquired a language other than English as their first language; b) come from a home where a language other than English is spoken and/or c) speak with family and peers in a language other than English.  They also have an English language proficiency level below that of their peers. To meet this goal, the curriculum instruction addresses the PA Core Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and the Pennsylvania English Language Proficiency Standards (PA ELPS) for ELLs.


    Plan of Action/Educational Goals
    The program addresses two components in language acquisition; the acculturation and basic survival skills needed by newcomers to the language and the academic support necessary for their continued success in the regular content area subjects.  The underlying objective of the newcomer curriculum is to provide a source of support as the student seeks to adapt to his/her new culture and academic setting.  Emphasis is on the survival skills needed for basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and acculturation.  For students who have moved beyond the need for basic communication skills, the curriculum addresses more cognitive and academic language proficiency (CALP).  All teachers work to individualize instruction appropriate to each student’s needs.
     
    It is the goal of the ESL program to provide instruction and support for the ELL student for as long as it takes to reach the level of English proficiency required for success in the academic setting and in life beyond formal schooling.  Lessons are centered around reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Students are assessed yearly with the WIDA ACCESS exam. This is the designated state mandated assessment to monitor language growth.

     
    Program Design
    The elementary program is a pull-out program for English language instruction.  At the secondary level, the program is based on the needs of each individual student. Some students may receive sheltered English instruction while other students may participate in regular English classes and receive language acquisition support in collaboration with content area teachers. At the elementary level, students meet one-on-one with the teacher or in small groups, depending on their grade and proficiency level, to work on English language skills. No grade is given, although the ESL teacher maintains an open line of communication with the parents.  At both levels, a variety of materials are utilized for instruction to provide a program that integrates language development and content while accelerating academic language acquisition and developing transferable academic skills.

    Student Assessment
    Students are included in all district-wide assessments, including the PSSA and Keystone Exams, in accordance with current PA Department of Education guidelines.  Appropriate accommodations are provided. Additionally, students are assessed yearly for language proficiency growth using the WIDA ACCESS exam.
     
    Classroom Accommodations/Grading
    Students participating in the ESL program are required, with accommodations, to meet established academic standards and graduation requirements adopted by the Board. Although the ESL program is designed to provide instruction that meets each student’s individual needs based on his/her language proficiency level, all classroom teachers also provide adequate content area support while the student is learning English to ensure achievement of academic standards.

    During the initial periods of language acquisition and development, classroom teachers may opt to grade ELL students on a pass/fail basis.  Otherwise, ELL students receive the same grade format as their peers in their respective buildings.

    Parents of ELLs are regularly apprised of their student’s progress and school communications are in the language understood by the parents, whenever possible.  Parents and students are entitled to have a translator/interpreter with them at conferences.


    Equal Access
    ELL students in the district have full access to all academic programs with accommodations for their English language proficiency level, including the Career and Technology Center, Advanced Placement and gifted programs.  In addition, they have equal access to all technology, college and career guidance, counseling and related services, and extracurricular programs.

    Professional Development/Professional Staff
    In an effort to ensure appropriate delivery of instruction and services to ELL students in the district, all Elizabethtown staff are in-serviced and/or provided access to professional development in ESL instructional techniques or strategies, methodology, accommodations, language acquisition, culture, and the legal rights and responsibilities of the school toward ELLs and their families.  In addition, the ESL program instruction is under the supervision of a certified teacher holding a PA ESL Program Specialist Certification. 

    Program Evaluation
    The Elizabethtown ESL Program is evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure program effectiveness, and improve program implementation.